@progrium: ah yes, I remember
. Shame about the horrid room crowding. You (and anyone else here who's going to GDC) should swing by our Flashbang/IGF party on Tuesday night. I'll post details when they're finalized. Should be *gonzo*
@Inane: he is a man-mountain, neck as thick as two bears.
Anyhow, thanks for the question suggestions!
I think that a question about interaction with players would be great...it's an issue that seems to be very contentious with those who consciously try to innovate. For example, Alex Austin has said that he believes playtesting 'dilutes the creative process.' or some such. Word.
Identifying techniques for generating innovative ideas was kind of the impetus behind the whole panel. A hobby of mine is collecting brainstorming and creativity tools, things like Von Oech, DeBono and so on. After guineapigging on my students for more than a year, it seems clear that anyone
of reasonable intelligence can be highly creative given access to the right tools and if prompted properly. It's all about getting access to the mental resources. For example, in my Game Design class, I have students create board game prototype a week for eight weeks. Invariably, the first game they make is a "race" game, similar to Monopoly. I start applying constraints (no dice, create a game with three unique choices each turn etc...) and feed them ideas like generating creative stepping stones by introducing random quantities (random words in the dictionary, random article on Wikipedia, or whatever.) One of my favorites for game design is role shifting. A student comes in with a design about fantasy armies fighting on a hex grid. They have castles to capture, unit triangulation, movement points, all the really boring, really standard stuff. If you have a setup like that it's easy to start asking questions like this:
• What if the player played as the castle instead of the army? What would the goal of the game be then? To become the largest castle, regardless of which army inhabits you? How would the armies factor into it?
• What if the player played as the weather and the goal was to erode the castles or to make everyone so cold and miserable that they stop fighting.
• What if the player were a Valkyrie sweeping over the battlefield, trying only to cause the most death and bloodshed regardless the outcome.
At a more general level, you can simply brainstorm things to play as:
• A thought
• A disease
• A librarian who hates books
You can get a delightfully fresh perspective this way. Tying it in with the concept of stepping stones, you have to be willing to entertain some ideas and notions that at first seem lame or to have no bearing on your present design problem. There are numerous brainstorming tools like this out there that can be drawn on, so a focus of mine will be the "how" of creativity. How do John, Jon, Jenova, and Kyle generate ideas? Are there any lessons and tools to share and use?
What’s cool is that tools like this are as applicable to framed problems like “create a game with three unique goals” as they are to “What is a type of interaction that hasn’t been tapped yet?” or “What is a completely new type of gameplay?”
Well I had a few, right? Again, I'd like to hear about prototypes. But here's a few more...
Is there such a thing as bad innovation? How would it be defined?
Are there techniques to achieving innovation? For example, taking established ideas and applying them in a different context.
Besides setting an example, what are some ways we can further encourage innovation in the industry?
How would you define the role of indie in regards to innovation? What about the rest of the industry?
One might consider innovation to just be one of many tools of the designer. In that case, when and where should it be used?
How would you define experimental? Does it imply merely an attempt at innovation?
I'd also maybe change "Do constraints breed creativity" to "How do constraints breed creativity" because it seems like accepted wisdom that they do. We're interested in the explanation.
I'm sure you'll ask, but as an introduction, "Why is innovation important?"
There's some good stuff in here. The concept of bad innovation is interesting…the first thing that leaps to mind is Trespasser. I guess to be innovative something must be successfully different. At least, enough so that others are interested in following your line of inquiry. That's what my question about innovation inside the context of a game anyone wants to play is about.
I don’t think the questions about how indies and innovation fit into the industry really need to be covered – that discussion will be raging through both days, I’m sure.
I have a question in there asking ‘do we really need innovation?’ The question is mainly intended to get at what the nature of innovation is and how people think it applies to game design. Because, honestly, when I think of innovation I tend to think of product design, innovation as buzzword. It seems like what we really want is for the medium of interactivity to expand into places never visited, dangerous places, away from the safety of current genre conventions. The stuff about why it’s important is, in my mind, a foregone conclusion. Maybe not, though. What do you think the answer to that question would be?